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"Current condition? Are you ill?" Gloria asks. "Well, if you're searching for the Shard of the Sky, go to the abandoned abbey behind the Temple of Desna. We've seen a few shady characters going in there, but they've done nothing to warrant an investigation. We're a little hampered by the Baron in what we can do, so we try to stick to matters where we have proof. The abbey was built over the Shard and nothing but misfortune has struck that place. Many townsfolk have insisted on condemning the place, but there's a reliquary in the basement that houses Aroden's broken shield. So, it stands...for better or worse. You'll have to go below the basement into the catacombs...and I fear that's where you'll find the evil plaguing Lysse."
The woman cocks her head then nods. "So, first things first: My name is Gloria and I am one of the Army of the Heavens. We answer to no one, neither god nor mortal. We only seek to do good and we accept none who bear chaos or evil in their heart."
Gloria pauses. "We try to avoid contact with those in the city since the Baron lets his mages roam free and they tend to invade others' minds with but a touch. If not mages, then there are Geoff's pickpockets. In public, we hide our identities, so that our loved ones are not put in danger. Many call us cultists and we do have abilities that other 'legitimate' spellcasters do not possess."
She smiles at Arista. "That's my story and that's who I work with. So tell me about yourself and we'll get to the heart of your problems."
The Ivory Hammer:
A few minutes after Arista arrives at the homely tavern, the woman from the alleyway walks in, dressed in commoner's clothing. She gestures to a booth away from the few patrons in the tavern. "You should be more careful about who you ask about things in Lysse. Not all of us have the best intentions for the city."
"There's a quiet tavern up the road, the Ivory Hammer. It looks a little rundown but that's to keep the uppity folk from the richer districts from dropping in," the woman replies, her aura not radiating the slightest bit of evil. "It'll be safe to talk there. I may not know everything you want to know, but I might have enough to help. I need to slip into some plain clothes and I'll meet you there."
The man closes the slot and a woman opens the door a moment later. Dressed in silver robes, her features are strong, her eyes the look of one who has seen many battles. She wears her chestnut brown hair up in a braid. It's hard to determine what color her eyes are in the darkness. She looks at the group before focusing on Arista. "An aasimar, eh? Perhaps you can lend credence to our cause."
She then chuckles slightly. "I kid. I've never seen you lot in Lysse before, so I'm pretty sure you're not here to join. What is it you want?"
You head out into the city, following Anna's directions. It takes about ten minutes to reach the City Square with a large fountain that depicts a mounted knight. The muzzle of the horse is near to the water as if it were drinking. The knight bears a haggard look, his shoulders slumped.
Perception checks, please.
"I have plenty of incense, 2 copper an ounce," Anna answers. "As for clerical supplies, your best bet would be to head to the Temple District and check one of their stores. You'll just take a right out of my shop and follow the avenue until you reach City Square. You'll know it by the fountain. Then take a left until you reach Bardil's Armory, another right and you'll be at the Temple District soon after. I can't say I go there often enough to suggest a trustworthy place."
"He reshaped the land, made it unlivable. Many strix died, unable to adapt to the cruel environments he made," Anna answers. "My family fled here to Lysse. The Baron let us stay here and helped us where he could. In the end, it proved too much for my kin and they died shortly after we came here. I suppose I was young enough to survive it all."
Sādhanā knows that very few strix have been seen in the world, their race hunted for numerous reasons. Chief among those reasons were being confused for harpies or being perceived as perversions of angels. Very few strix reached a venerable age and those that remain have a seething hatred for humans. Strix prefer to live in isolated communities, seeing one in the city of Lysse is rarity. Their association with the Anizari is not easily confirmed, but the white tattoos on Anna's flesh are quite similar to those the Anizari adorn their bodies with.
Anna sips on her tea. "When the Anizari were driven underground, the strix had lost an ally and a friend. Again we were subject to the depredations of the humans, but it was Ju'ok Kalokh who dealt the final blow to the last strix community on Zahvroma."